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US Envoy Kerry, Putin agree on shared interest in climate change

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during their bilateral meeting focused on Syria and Ukraine at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on March 24, 2016. (U.S. State Department)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a phone call on July 14 that the United States and Russia should work together on climate issues, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Kerry and Putin “underscored the importance of the United States and Russia working together across a range of climate issues,” the statement said, adding that they also affirmed the importance of working toward a successful UN climate change conference scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

A Kremlin statement said Putin told Kerry that the climate problem was “one of the areas where Russia and the United States have common interests and similar approaches.”

Kerry, who is visiting Moscow this week, emphasized that the United States and Russia have important roles to play, including aiming for net-zero emissions in the long term, eliminating emissions from coal, and working to address Arctic-related climate issues under Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the State Department said.

Putin concurred on the need to redouble international climate efforts and affirmed Russia’s intention to address its own emissions, among other actions.

Putin said Moscow “attaches great importance” to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and “advocates de-politicizing” dialogue on climate change.

Climate change is one of the few areas in which the United States and the European Union have said they are ready to engage with Russia. A range of issues, including Russia’s activities in Ukraine, cyberattacks, Moscow’s human rights record, the poisoning of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, have added to tensions between the two countries.

Moscow has welcomed Kerry’s visit and called it a positive step to improve relations.